Believe it or not, I’ve never explored Los Angeles before! I briefly visited LA about 6 years ago and hit up Manhattan Beach then drove towards Palm Springs, so it was about time. Sabrina and I packed a lot into our one week vacation so I thought I would put together a Los Angeles travel guide for 2018 to keep you in the loop and share my favourite spots.
Before we jump into where I went, here are some of the basics you should know.
HOW MUCH MONEY TO TAKE TO LOS ANGELES: I used my credit card for every single purchase except valet parking. I would suggest bringing about $100 cash just to keep on hand for things like quick purchases and valet parking.
TRAVELLING FROM THE AIRPORT IN LOS ANGELES: LAX is about a 1 hour drive from central LA so put budget aside for travelling to and from the airport if you’re taking an Uber or Lyft. We decided to rent a car for the entire week and needed to take a shuttle from the airport to the car rental location. Remember, when you’re returning your car, leave enough time to return the car and take a shuttle back to the airport.
DRIVING IN LOS ANGELES: We come from a very walk-able city but Los Angeles isn’t exactly the most walk-able city. Many neighborhoods you’ll want to hit up are a freeway away and about 20-45 minute drives so it really is best to rent a car and rely on Uber and Lyft because they can become very expensive. If you’re like us, we left the house in the morning and came back before dinner so we needed to take a days worth of essentials with us. You can’t leave those items in car share so it’s another benefit of having your own car. We rented from Enterprise and found the rates to be very reasonable.
PARKING IN LOS ANGELES: If you’re driving, leave enough time to search for parking! We found it a little difficult to find parking, let alone free parking. Valet is available at most businesses so if all else fails, have cash for valet that can range between $5 USD to $10 USD plus tip.
WHERE TO STAY IN LOS ANGELES: We decided to stay in an Airbnb in West Hollywood (also known as WeHo) after searching for hotels that were out of our budget. With that said, our friends managed to find hotels with affordable rates in multiple neighborhoods so keep your eyes peeled! This is the link to the Airbnb we stayed at. We suggest staying in West Hollywood because it’s the spot with the most action, most walk-about shopping and dining and the energy is upbeat.
YOUR FIRST STOP IN LOS ANGELES: Hit up one of the grocery stores and stock your kitchen with light snacks and bottled water. The water in Los Angeles didn’t taste the best for us Vancouverites and felt a little thick in texture so we drank bottled water. Because you’re driving so much, it’s great to have a bottle of water with you in the car. Eating out can be quite expensive as well so to save on money, we made breakfast at home for about 100% of the trip.
WHERE TO EAT IN LOS ANGELES: We had no shortage of great restaurants on our list! I suggest creating an LA list on your Google Maps where you can tag all of the places you’d like to go. Once you’re in the neighborhood, just open your map and see what’s around you that you wanted to visit. The wait for tables was typically very long at popular restaurants so I suggest making reservations for dinner spots. The average cost for dinner was $30 USD each when sharing food.
WHERE TO SHOP IN LOS ANGELES: Same as eating in LA, you’ll want to create a Google Map with spots to hit up. LA is packed with great vintage shopping and most boutiques cater to men and women and have a curated selection.
WHAT IS TRAFFIC LIKE IN LOS ANGELES: Luckily for us, we didn’t notice the traffic too much. During a one week vacation, we were stuck in traffic twice! Traffic usually hits between 3PM – 6PM so leave enough time if you have a reservation somewhere. LA has more cars but also more lanes so traffic isn’t as slow as in Vancouver.
Now that the basics are out the way, scroll down to see where we went.
Los Angeles neighborhoods to visit:
- West Hollywood
- Santa Monica
- Hollywood Hills
- Malibu – Zuma Beach
Los Angeles restaurants to visit:
- Gracias Madre – Mexican Food
- The Butcher’s Daughter – Comfort Vegetarian Food
- Alfred Tea Room – Coffee, Tea and baked goods
- Kismet – Middle Eastern food
- Crossroads – Vegetarian Food
- Nobu – Seafood
- Carrera Cafe – Coffee, Tea, salads and sandwiches
- In & Out Burger – The obvious choice for fast food
- Laurel Hardware – A little bit of everything
- Sweet Green – Salads
- Mauro Cafe – Salads, sandwiches and more. A great place for cocktails and people watching.
Where to shop in Los Angeles:
- Reformation & Reformation Vintage – The best tech forward shopping experience I’ve ever had. All clothing is ethically made!
- The Paper Bag Princess – May just be the largest selection of vintage designer in LA. Canada grown!
- American Rag – A little bit of everything for everyone.
- Boutiques – You’ll find all of your favourite boutiques from Assembly, Isabel Marant, Mansur Gavriel, etc. scattered throughout the city and some hidden in neighborhoods you wouldn’t expect.
Fun things to do in Los Angeles:
- The Comedy Store – Comedy shows
- Flea Market – So many awesome finds especially for the home
- Malibu Wine Safarai – The coolest safari in the middle of California as you tour through a vineyard for wine tastings (juice can be requested) and drive through rolling hills
- The Getty Museum – A must see!
- LACMA – If you love contemporary art, it’s a must go. The iconic lamp posts are open to the street so you don’t need to pay to see them.
- Orpheum Theater – See a concert!
Outfit images by Street Scout.
Travelling to Paris? Check out my Paris travel guide!